3 Rings Workouts to Help You Build Pushing Strength, Conditioning, and Core Strength

People have a really hard time focusing on one goal at a time. Maybe it has something to do with our culture of ADD and overstimulation.

Whatever the reason, you might think you need to tackle every possible fitness goal at once, when all you really need to do is focus on one thing at a time.

We recommend employing the Cycle Principle.

What this means is spending a considerable amount of time focused on one goal, and moving on to a new goal when you’ve accomplished what you set out to with the previous one. The cycle principle is important for maintaining motivation and improving your ability to learn new skills.

It also prevents you from overworking any particular routine.

3 Examples of Ring Workouts You Can Cycle for Different Goals

Below, you’ll find three different gymnastic rings workouts, each focused on its own goal.

Before jumping in to any one of these routines, think about what your goals are, and why. Plan ahead and think about what your next goal will be too. Ask yourself,

How will this goal help me get to my next one?

These are just examples, so we haven’t included tutorials for every exercise. Most of these exercises should be pretty self-explanatory, and we’ve covered most of them in other places (on the blog or on our YouTube channel), but feel free to ask any questions if you’re having trouble with technique.

Routine #1 – Pushing Strength Cycle

This is an example of a cycle to address pushing strength. You’ll notice that each of these exercises either involves actual pushing, or engages the muscles that will help you build pushing strength through holds.

For this routine, perform 5 sets of the following exercises, resting 2-3 minutes between each set. Finish all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next move or hold.

Plank Hold (5 seconds)

  1. Make sure to keep your wrists directly beneath your shoulders -or in front as you get stronger.
  2. Turn your rings out and keep your body tight throughout the hold.
  3. Go into and out of the hold slowly.

Push-Ups (3 to 5 reps)

  1. Start in the plank hold position, with the rings turned out.
  2. Lower yourself slowly and with control, and don’t let your shoulders drop below your hands.
  3. Slowly push your body back up to the starting position, with control.

Dips to Top Position (3 to 5 reps)

  1. Start in the top position hold with the rings turned out.
  2. Let the rings roll in so your palms face each other and slowly bend your elbows, dipping your body.
  3. Push your body back up to the top position with the rings turned out.

Top Position Hold (5 seconds)

  1. Start by standing with the rings at waist height.
  2. Jump up and pull the rings close to your body.
  3. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and lift your chest up.
  4. Push down and turn the rings out.

Notes:

Stick with this routine for 4-6 weeks.

Work on increasing the number of reps/seconds per exercise, but make sure to maintain impeccable form. Once you feel confident you’ve improved your pushing strength, you can move on to your next goal.

Routine #2 – Conditioning Cycle

For this next cycle, we’ll focus on building up your conditioning, or your ability to do a lot of work for prolonged periods of time. This will be helpful if you are looking to improve your endurance for a particular sport, or if you’re just tired of getting winded while climbing the stairs.

We’ll use supersets (two exercises performed back-to-back) to build up endurance. Do one superset, rest for up to 30 seconds, and then move on to the next superset. Work on adding a round of supersets with each workout.

Superset 1

  • Push-ups (3 to 5 reps)
    • Follow the instructions described above.
  • Plank Hold (5 seconds)
    • Follow the instructions described above.

Superset 2

  • Neutral Grip Pull-Ups (2 to 3 reps) 
    1. Start in a dead hang position with your palms facing each other.
    2. Slowly pull your body up until your shoulders meet your hands.
    3. Lower yourself slowly into a dead hang before starting your next rep.
  • Dead Hang L-Sit (5 second hold)
    1. Start with your body below the rings.
    2. Straighten your arms, hanging from the rings.
    3. Without shrugging your shoulders or bending your arms, bring your legs off the ground into an L-Sit position.

Superset 3

  • Dips (3 to 5 reps)
    1. Start in the top position hold with the rings turned out.
    2. Let the rings roll in so your palms face each other and slowly bend your elbows, dipping your body.
    3. Push your body back up to the top position with the rings turned out. 
  • Top Position Hold (5 seconds)
    • Follow the instructions above.

Notes:

Work on this routine for about 4 weeks, adding as many rounds of supersets by the end as you can – of course, while maintaining perfect form. You’ll definitely notice improvements in your endurance as you go along.

Routine #3 – Core Strength Cycle

This cycle will help you get those rock hard abs you’ve always dreamed about. Of course, the path to a six-pack starts in the kitchen, but engaging your core is certainly a vital part of the puzzle.

For this routine, perform 3 to 5 sets of the following exercises, resting 1-2 minutes between sets. Keep a fairly fast pace, but be very careful about your form.

Tuck to Inverted Hang (3 to 5 reps)

  1. Start by locking out your arms beneath the rings, with your feet on the ground.
  2. Pull your knees up into the tuck position.
  3. Keep pulling your knees in until you straighten them above you, in the inverted position.
  4. Lower yourself by bending your knees back into the tuck and coming back into the starting position.

Dead Hang L-Sit (10 seconds)

  • Follow the instructions above.

Mt. Climbers (10 reps per leg)

  1. Start in the plank position.
  2. Tighten your core while bending one knee toward your chest.
  3. Return to the plank position and repeat on the other side.

Notes:

Stick with this routine for 4-6 weeks, focusing on building up your time on holds, and the number of reps you are doing. As always, form is the most important thing, so don’t lose sight of that.

Some Benefits of Using the Cycling Principle

We apply this Cycle Principle to all of our programs at GMB. Each one includes four phases, which are  mini-cycles within the larger cycle of the complete program:

  • Fundamental Strength Movements
  • Skill Building Combinations
  • Flow Acquisition Components
  • Flow Mastery Routine

We set up our programs this way so you never get stuck on one goal, but you’re still focused on one goal at a time. Maintaining this kind of focus, while planning for the next phase, will increase your chances of success in meeting your desired goals.

The three routines included above demonstrate that you can apply this principle to any tool.

The important thing is that you have a clear picture of what your goal is, and that you understand how your chosen routine will help you achieve that goal.

So, be sure to plan out your goals and your exercise routines accordingly, and you’ll have a much greater chance of success.

Next: Cycle your goals for best success

Discussion

  1. Great topic. It makes sense and puts purpose before anything else. I do all of these exercises in my workouts, but in review couldn’t tell you my purpose. This explanation clicked for me.

    Thanks

  2. Great Post Ryan ;)

  3. Such an interesting post!!

    Since I am following GMB all I have read and watched is really handy and iluminating.

    By the way, how many days per week is good to train? and how long should I have to spend in my dailyl routine?

    Health and happiness to everyone!!!

  4. Michael Killingback says:

    Never underestimate the power of the Top Position Hold

  5. Why am I having such an issue with Jump Tuck to Inverted Hang or Tuck to Inverted Hang. All the other basics I can do, but I guess I need some progression to get to this one. Maybe it has more to do with being afraid of being upside down?

    • RyanHurst says:

      Weak core could be the issue. Some things just need more work than the others. Something that could help is to focus getting up in inverted hang however and then lower back to the starting position as slowly as you can.

      • Only reason I am concerned is because it is Phase 1 level A Novice, Day 2! I don’t want to be discouraged already. But your suggestion is exactly how I learned pull ups when I couldn’t get my chin above the bar, now I can perform 8 dead hangs. By building strength through negatives. I will try it. Thanks for the reply!

        • RyanHurst says:

          You bet Kit. Keep working on it and keep us posted on your progress!

          • Ryan, Just finished phase1 novice day 2 after doing a warm up week last week with all exercises to assess my skill level and I am happy to say that I nailed the jump to inverted hang this week and was able to do a good amount of them. Granted not at 8-12reps yet, but I got it and it FELT GREAT! Thanks for the encouragement!

          • RyanHurst says:

            That’s awesome! So happy to hear that. :)

  6. Could you post say a 12 week cycle based progession training guide for getting the muscle up on the rings?

  7. First time with the rings, tried your first workout…. Rings 1 , Diego 0!
    I have all my life to flip the bord around!
    Diego from far far away Argentina!

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